View Full Version : Getting started

07-29-2005, 04:52 AM
Hi, I'm starting my first major pastel piece it is a combination between water colour and chalk pastel I was wondering what would be the best paper and how do I prepare the paper and mount it when i'm done, can you help me?
Thanks Tegan :confused:

Kathryn Wilson
07-29-2005, 10:29 AM
Hi Tegan - welcome to the world of pastels! Being that you are in Australia, Art Spectrum (an Australian-based company) makes a good paper - it has a sanded surface that holds pastel well. It comes in small, medium and large size paper - and comes with colored ground, so no need to worry about covering a bright white paper with an underpainting. You can get going very quickly with little to no prep at all.

They also make a good pastel - not too hard, not too soft - a good one for beginners.

I don't mount my paper until I get ready to frame and then I only use archival tape to attach it to archival foam core. You can get Art Spectrum mounted on board, but that can get expensive.

Good luck with your pastels and let us see what comes of it, okay?

07-29-2005, 11:15 AM
thanks for your help I will try looking for that paper. I can't wait to get started

07-29-2005, 03:41 PM
If you are determined to combine watercolour with your soft pastels, then Art Spectrum isn't ideal really, it doesn't "take" the watercolour brilliantly because it is a plastic surface. You can put some loose washes on, but thats as far as you can go really. I used to use felt pens on my Art Spectrum, they worked fine, and if you use the ones with a broad "nib" you can make nice big areas of colour if you want.

If you want to begin with watercolours for sure, then I recommend you use a HOT PRESSED watercolour paper, rather than a NOT surface which has lots of bumps. The Hot Pressed will take the watercolour beautifully, and then you can add soft pastel over the top, but be aware that you cannot overload the paper with too much pastel because it doesn't have masses of "tooth". If you are careful tho, your results should be good.
Somerset Velvet is good with watercolour too, it is nice and heavy.
The other alternative is to "stretch" a piece of regular pastel paper, like Mi Teinte, which is commonly available in Australia, I believe. You dampen the paper on the back with a sponge, lay it onto a wooden board, and tape down the edges with sticky brown parcel tape, the kind you have to wet. Leave it to dry, and it will tighten so that you can use watercolours on it happily.

If you choose to use watercolour paper, and it is a light weight, and you want to splash around, that too needs to be stretched, cos it will buckle with lots of floaty watercolour on it, but with watercolour paper you must dunk it in the bath for 5 minutes, shake off most of the water, lay it onto a damp wooden board and then tape the edges down. Leave it to dry naturally, flat, and it will be tight as a drum when dry and you can splash about to your heart's content.


07-29-2005, 10:21 PM
Tegan, Jackie Simmons has written several books on pastel techniques and put out tapes that are very good- I just got one yesterday from the northern light book club.. have glanced through it and it will be very helpful for me, I started pastels (after doing a few many years ago) in Jan, so am a beginner too... the Pastel Journal is also very nice- I hear you can get that down under...